The Best Time to Switch is Now
You cannot simply switch from Medicare Advantage to Medigap any ole time.
The challenge is to avoid a lapse in coverage; otherwise, you will be left with only original Medicare (Part A and Part B). That will leave you exposed to the 20% that Part B doesn’t cover, and the Part A Inpatient Hospital deductibles and copays. This is the key point that I have said in about 1 million places (slight exaggeration, you get the point).
Medigap acceptance should be secured first. Then, and only then, should you feel comfortable in selecting a Part D plan.
Another time window is during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, which runs from January 1 – March 31st, 2022.
Carriers will accept your application with varying rules, and this needs to be checked, now, because the sooner that you know the Medigap application result, the better.
Ways To Get Accepted Into Medigap
There are actually multiple paths, but they can be subtle.
Medigap Open Enrollment, the most obvious. Your Medigap coverage can begin on any date that starts with the date on your Part B card plus the next 5 months (for a total of 6 months). The carrier must accept you at the best possible price, with no underwriting questions.
Special Enrollment Period. It immediately gets more complicated. The CMS has a long list of situations where you must be accepted by the Medigap carrier. This needs to be handled with care, there are Special Enrollment Periods that apply only to Medicare Advantage (like moving), and not Medigap.
State-specific rules. There are certain states (NY, MA) that have unrestricted access to Medigap, year-around (MA has a different form of Medigap, be careful).
Carrier Guaranteed Acceptance. Certain carriers may extend the federal rules to allow you to be accepted into Medigap via less-restrictive underwriting, or adding extra options on top of the Special Enrollment Periods. This is very subtle, the carriers do not have the obligation to offer or continue these different paths.
This video explains:
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